You should smell my tackle room. Strictly out of bounds for the house hold.
My brother is even worse. Hing smells like lavender in comparison to what he has stashed in his back yard.
Back to bait, and here's my four annas for what its worth to beginners.
Use atta with a drop of vanilla essence (commercial stuff will do), strawberry essence is also a great attractor, but use them both sparingly.
Atta mixed with a little haldi powder gives the bait a nice attractive colour.
Even bread flakes pressed onto the hook work well.
Earthworms will always be a good bait to have around, since they are totally natural, and the fish see this every day.
Soaked and boiled Kabuli channa and indian corn will also work well as hook bait for carp.
If you have enough time, or are fishing for even a day, pick a likely spot on a lake (the locals will have a fair idea as to where fish are frequently caught from), or look for fish activity, and ground bait the area at regular intervals, heavily at first, and while you are fishing if the bites dry up, throw in a handful or so every hour.
It is not a good idea to move places too often, better to just ground bait 1 or 2 good spots.
Ground bait selection should be based on the water being fished. In lakes or quiet pools in rivers or streams, i like to use groundnut oil cake though i am pretty sure sunflower seed oil cake should work as well. A couple of kgs of it soaked in a little water so as to make a thick paste, and then mixed with clay in a 1:1 ratio and even things like indian corn kernels or cooked bengal gram, cooked kabuli channa, even smelly stuff like hing can be added in small quantities and left to dry for a little while before gently dropping it into the water. All this can be done on the bank, with the help of a small bucket.
You should soon have some fish activity in the area. Probably the small fish at first, and then the activity will bring in the biggies.
If you see the small ones go helter- skelter, it's probably a sign of bigger things to come.
The fish will not get turned on to ragi or atta (or any of the hook baits i have mentioned above) overnight, they need to be introduced to the bait gradually, and know that it is safe to eat it. Over a period of time the addiction sets in, and nothing else works as well as what they have been introduced to.
A good alternate to ground baiting or in addition to ground baiting is to use an open end swim feeder (have to post some pix of one for you to understand if you have not seen one). The swim feeder is a transparent piece of pvc pipe about an inch in dia, and 1 and a half inch long, with holes drilled into its sides. A piece of lead is clipped on to one side of the plastic. The amount of lead, depends on how far you want to cast out (30 to 50 gm lead piece should be sufficient). The swim feeder is attached to the main line with a thin length of line maybe a foot in length and tied about a foot and a half above the hook to the main line. (Very little lead will be required for the hook). Pack the swim feeder full of the oilcake ground bait and gently cast out (no float required). The bait in the swim feeder should be of the right consistency, so that a slight shake of the rod tip will loosen up the bait in the feeder, and within 15 to 20 min it should have come out of the feeder. Over a period of time the build up of ground bait in the area will bring in enough fish activity. You hook bait should be similar to what is being used in the ground bait (indian corn, kabuli channa, even bread, worms etc).
Good luck and tight lines.